Are you ready for Love Never Dies, Broadway? Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and director Simon Phillips have confirmed to Broadway.com during an exclusive Google Hangout that the musical is aiming for a long-brewing American premiere, possibly with a brand-new ending.
The creative duo chatted with Broadway.com Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek as they were preparing for the show’s first performance in Japan on March 12. The musical sequel to The Phantom of the Opera is now playing at the Nissay Theatre in Tokyo. Phillips' reworking of the show, which first played for 18 months in London’s West End under the direction of Jack O’Brien, premiered to great acclaim in Melbourne, Australia in 2010 and can also be seen in Vienna, with plans for a Hamburg bow in the works.
“It’d be great to get it into America now,” Lloyd Webber said, adding the Tokyo production is a scaled-down version of the Australian staging, making the show easier to move. The musical theater icon praised Phillips' staging (which was preserved on film and released on home video in 2012) for being a perfect fit of design and material: “It matches the music entirely. It’s seamless, absolutely of one piece.”
[SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t seen Love Never Dies, read no further!]
To get the show ready for America, the creators are considering reworking the Love Never Dies ending, in which Christine dies and her son, Gustave, is left in the Phantom’s care. Might the Phantom die instead?
“We’re thinking about it,” confirmed Lloyd Webber. “Since the DVD came out, we’ve had a tremendous amount of feedback.”
“Artistically, we have no problem with the current ending,” added Phillips. “It makes completely coherent artistic sense and in many contexts, couldn’t be better.” However, the director added that the current ending is a “shock to the system” for many audience members. “People worry about what happens to the child,” Lloyd Webber added. “That’s the feedback we’ve had. If we do change the ending, we could make it more comfortable for people.”
Wontorek also asked if original London Love Never Dies star Sierra Boggess, who had a smashing run as Christine in Broadway's Phantom last year, might repeat her role for the show’s Broadway premiere. “We absolutely love Sierra,” Lloyd Webber gushed. “She’s the best, the best Christine certainly!”